After besting Democratic primary challengers more progressive on cannabis than he, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed sure that he could legalize marijuana when voters re-elected him last year. In early January, he seemed sure that he could legalize adult cannabis use in the first 100 days of his third term. Now, however, Gov. Cuomo says he “isn’t sure” if marijuana legalization is on the table this year. And after Monday’s announcement to that effect, New Yorkers aren’t sure if they’ll have to wait until 2020 for legal weed.
NY Gov. Cuomo Walks Back Ambitious Plan to Legalize Marijuana in 100 Days
Even a cursory look at Andrew Cuomo’s record as New York Governor will reveal that he has been anything but a champion of progressive drug policy. As recently as 2017, Cuomo was still reacting to calls for legalization with anti-marijuana talking points and gateway theory. But the 2018 midterm elections changed the calculus. Facing more progressive challengers, and holding a Health Department report recommending adult-use legalization and full, retroactive decriminalization, Cuomo had to pivot his stance.
So when Democrats took control of Albany in 2019, Gov. Cuomo took action. He called on lawmakers to include a framework for